Vincent van Gogh - Landscape with Olive Tree and Mountains in the Background 1889

Landscape with Olive Tree and Mountains in the Background 1889
Landscape with Olive Tree and Mountains in the Background
Oil on canvas 45.0 x 55.0 cm. Saint-Rémy: December, 1889
Private collection

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Theo van Gogh. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Sunday, 14 or Monday, 15 July 1889.
My dear Theo,
Tomorrow I’ll send you a roll of canvases by goods train. There are four of them, i.e. the following
1 View of Arles, orchards in blossom
2 The ivy
3 The lilacs
4 Pink chestnut trees in the botanical gardens in Arles
which will hold their own with the ones you already have, such as the red and green Vineyard, The garden, The harvest, The starry sky.
I’m also enclosing another 7 studies which are dry but which are studies after nature rather than subjects for paintings.
And that’s how it always is, you have to do several of them before you find a whole with character. Now here are the subjects of these 7 studies.
The irises – View of the asylum at St-Rémy, no. 30 canvases. Peach trees in blossom (Arles), Meadows (Arles), Olive trees (St-Rémy), Old willows (Arles), Orchard in blossom.
Now the next consignment, which will follow shortly, will consist mainly of wheatfields and olive groves.
As you can see, I’ve been to Arles to fetch these canvases. The orderly from here accompanied me. We went to Mr Salles’s house, who had gone away on holiday for two months, then to the hospital to see Mr Rey, whom I didn’t find either. So we spent the day with my former neighbours, as well as my charwoman from those days and a few others.
One becomes very attached to people one has seen while ill, and it did me a world of good to see some people again who were kind and indulgent towards me then. Someone told me that Mr Rey had taken an examination and had been to Paris, but the porter at the hospital said he didn’t know. I’m curious to know if you might have seen him, for he had planned to go and see the exhibition and then pay you a visit. The doctor from here will perhaps not go to Paris, he suffers a great deal from his gout.

I’ve also received the second consignment of canvases and colours, and I thank you very much for them. The latest canvas I’ve done is a view of mountains with a darkish hut among olive trees at the bottom.
I imagine that you’ll be very absorbed by thoughts of the child to come, I’m very pleased that this should be so, with time I dare believe that you’ll thus find much inner serenity. The fact that one takes on a kind of second nature in Paris, that moreover preoccupations with business and art make one less strong than the peasants, doesn’t prevent one, through the bonds of having wife and child, from reattaching oneself all the same to that simpler and truer nature whose ideal sometimes haunts us.
What a business, that Secrétan sale.
It always pleases me that the Millets are holding their own. But how I would like to see more good reproductions of Millet. So that it can reach the common folk. The body of work is above all sublime considered as a whole, and it will become more and more difficult to form an idea of it when the paintings are dispersed.
I’m sorry not to be able to add the Wheatfield with the reaper to this consignment.
Write me a line soon.
Handshake to you and Jo.
Ever yours,